THAI staff support new Thai Tiger

THAI staff support new Thai Tiger

The majority of Thai Airways International (THAI) staff have thrown their support behind the flag carrier’s joint venture with Tiger Airways to form a no-frills airline.

Two separate polls conducted recently by the airline – one for the technical, ground operations and cabin crew and another for the pilots – showed that 80% and nearly 70%, respectively, agreed with the establishment of Thai Tiger Airways (TTA).

The staff support allows THAI management to justify the alliance with the Singapore-based low-cost carrier Tiger Airways, which Transport Minister Sohpon Zarum and former THAI executives opposed.

The poll results came as THAI president Piyasvasti Amranand wrote last week to the Transport Ministry’s permanent secretary that most THAI staff agreed with and understood the need to create TTA.

The employees agreed with THAI’s strategic plan to use TTA to challenge Thai AirAsia in the budget market.

THAI’s union, which has been critical of major business deals in the past, has shown no opposition to TTA, say senior THAI executives.

Support from staff and the union should help consolidate THAI management’s bid to transform the memorandum of understanding to establish TTA, 51%-owned by THAI and 49% by Tiger Airways Holdings (TAH), into a formal accord, with a shareholder agreement in the next month or so.

Vigorous debate among THAI’s board and management helped get the deal off the ground and not be swayed by political interference to overturn the agreement.

THAI has said plans to establish TTA will not be affected by the decision of two substantial Tiger shareholders and its chief executive to sell shares in Tiger last week.

Indigo Singapore Partners and Ryan Asia, along with chief executive Tony Davis, sold 65.796 million TAH shares at a discounted price of $1.90 in a transaction worth about $125 million (2.92 billion baht).

TTA is expected to be up and running in the first quarter of next year with five Airbus 320s leased from Tiger Airways and another five joining the fleet in 2012.

source :